Luis Rodriguez, known across 24 years in pro baseball as “The Machete” for his ability to cut down base runners, was recently named manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish, becoming the seventh skipper in the franchise’s history.
The Bluefish also announced Joe Winkelsas was named pitching coach. Rodriguez returns for his ninth season with the Bluefish. He spent the last eight years as a player and the last four as a player/coach. The Bluefish reported in a statement that the 2016 season marks his 11th in the Atlantic League and 24th in professional baseball.
Rodriguez, a native of Venezuaela, has been primarily a catcher, but played every position on the diamond over his career and maintained a .985 career fielding percentage, the team said. Rodriguez played for the Long Island Ducks and the Nashua Pride, then of the Atlantic League, before coming to Bridgeport in 2008.
Winkelsas joins the Bluefish for his third season in the Atlantic League and first in a coaching role.
He made his coaching debut last year when he served as pitching coach for the Sioux Fall Canaries of the American Association. The 42-year-old right-hander managed the pitching staff to a 4.28 ERA, which was the fifth-best team ERA in Sioux Falls history since the clubs inception in 1993 and lowest since the 2008 campaign.
The Bluefish called Winkelsas “an Atlantic League success story,” first joining the league in 2004 as a member of the Somerset Patriots. He appeared in seven games for the Patriots before having his contract purchased by the Chicago White Sox organization. After spending the next season with the White Sox Triple-A affiliate, he was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006.
The Bluefish will hold a formal press conference to introduce Rodriguez and Winkelsas at 4 p.m. on December 17, at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
Immediately following the press conference, the Bluefish organization hosts its annual holiday party with all Bluefish fans invited to attend. Would-be attendees are asked to RSVP to 203-345-4800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bluefish also announced the team has renewed its partnership with Tucci Lumber of Norwalk for the 2016 season. Tucci will make the official bat of the Bluefish for the season. Company principal Pete Tucci retired with 84 home runs and 384 RBIs in six seasons of minor league ball.